Itching Ears


Public discourse during this American Presidential election year has highlighted the increasing isolation of Bible-believing Christians from mainstream society. Because U.S. President George W. Bush has openly professed his faith in Jesus Christ, he has become the lightning rod for attacks against Christianity in general. Honest debate about Bush's fulfillment of executive duties is often set aside for vitriolic personal attacks. Critics view Bush's public and conservative Christianity as leverage to raise questions about his fitness as President and, in so doing, stir public emotions against both. Another example: actor and filmmaker Mel Gibson became the target of collective malice once it became known he was directing "The Passion of the Christ," a film which was to be purportedly faithful to the Gospels (as opposed to out-and-out blasphemous). Yet, prior to "The Passion," Gibson was far from a controversial figure.

The phrase "familiarity breeds contempt" is all the more apropos in the Western World, where Christianity is both ingrained and derided. And in this climate of world unrest, the mainstream media's all-too-facile (and intellectually dishonest) comparisons of fundamental Christianity to fundamental Islam, with the implication that there is no difference between the two, deliberately exploit public fears.

The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy Chapter 4:

3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
Unbelievers and even some nominal Christians have allowed themselves to get swept up in the unabashed venom directed at Christianity, specifically Bible-based Christianity and born-again Christians. When pressed to define the source of their anger, they inevitably cite Christians (or those who claim to be Christians) who are either hypocrites or Philistines or both. The majority of their arguments do not involve Scriptural discourse.

Born-again believers understand they must be strong in Christ and put on the armor of God to navigate life's trials and tribulations. Unbelievers, however, are typically unaware of the spiritual realm. Without the Holy Spirit, individuals are far more vulnerable to spiritual deception. There exists a dark spiritual drumbeat which sends unwitting pawns, in lockstep, over the precipice. "The devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8) Demagoguery and group pressure are usually the physical representations of this spiritual drumbeat -- they scratch the itching ears. Fallen man is eager to hear justification of his sin.

Jesus said in John Chapter 15:
18 If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
20 Remember the words I spoke to you: "No servant is greater than his master." If they persecuted me, they will persecute you, also.
In today's culture, the simple mention of Jesus riles unbelievers, and His name is open to mockery. The names "Buddha," "Muhammad," "Allah," or even "God" do not stir up this kind of response. If someone simply says they believe in God, they are subject to far less ridicule than if they were to profess faith specifically in Jesus Christ. At the spiritual level, there are forces that hate that name -- especially that name. Jesus, the son of God, defeated sin on the Cross and thus destroyed the devil's one weapon against mankind. Jesus' victory on the Cross was complete and total. As a result, the devil and his forces strive to devalue the name of Jesus and so stoke those rebellious impulses in sinful Man.

The so-called "tolerancy" of this age does not extend to Bible-believing Christians. They have been put on the defensive, made to feel ashamed of their beliefs, and ostracized. These are tumultuous times. But believers should take heart; God is calling His true Church and separating the wheat from the tares.

Isaiah Chapter 5
20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.
The massive abortion rights march in Washington D.C. this past April was a startling example of man's rebellion, the extent of his arrogance, and his itching ears, which seek only to hear justification of his sinful actions. It is only the tip of the iceberg.